Britain’s decision to leave the European Union opens up a world of uncertainty. It will take some time before we know what the full impact will be. It could be years before we fully exit but the leave vote represents a significant victory for the politics of fear and hate that dominated the campaign.
It won’t be easy to heal the divisions created during the referendum. By pandering to a narrow and hateful brand of nationalism, the mainstream Leave campaign has built a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment and fostered a notion that the UK can return to an age when Britain was the world’s foremost ‘great power’ by leaving the EU.
Immigration has been one of the deciding factors in the vote and it is very clear that people unease and concern about mass immigration encouraged 52% of the voters to take the action of severing the connection with the EU which is the largest economic market in the world.
The need to regain control of the borders has been one of the determining factors in the leave vote. For the non EU and EU migrants there are some grave concerns. The issues which relate to immigration which will force themselves onto the political agenda over the course of the next few months are ibn our view
How will the Leave vote affect 3 million EU citizens resident in the UK?
There is likely to be no change to the immigration status of those who are already in the UK. In this group 1.4 million arrived before 2006 and have put down deep roots in the communities in which they live. Across the whole group 78% are in employment.
This is all just conjecture at the moment but it is likely that before the Prime Minister leaves office he will have to address other immediate concerns. He is likely to reassure nationals of other EU countries living in the UK that their status is unchanged. That is what the Leave campaign has said, so, even after the Brexit negotiations are complete, those who are already in the UK would be allowed to stay. Another guess could be that the EU Immigration Laws may be incorporated into the UK Immigration laws and therefore levelling the playing field for all migrants. This could possibly be for new entrants rather than for existing EU migrants. These are all guesses as the immediate and long term plans will start to unfold over the coming months and years.
With negotiations to leave the EU spanning as long another two years, any post-Brexit government might be forced to introduce some sort of transitional arrangement aimed at controlling the number of EU citizens allowed into the country.
It is no stretch to envisage a scenario where the UK witnesses a surge in those utilising free-movement arrangements to come to Britain before that door is eventually closed to them at the completion of Britain’s exit from the EU.
There may also have to be some significant changes in border security.
The most obvious example is the current passport-free border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
The current arrangement, known as the Common Travel Agreement, is an informal arrangement which means no passport controls are in operation for Irish and UK citizens travelling between the two countries.
Currently, the Irish Republic is not in the Schengen zone, meaning those entering the Irish Republic from mainland Europe have to show their passports.
But if the UK introduces a significantly different immigration policy to Ireland, denying the automatic right of entry to EU citizens, then further controls might well have to be introduced.
It is advisable for EU migrants who are living in the UK that they should apply for permanent residence and naturalise as British Citizens in order to safeguard their future in this country.
You can download the forms for free from the gov.uk website:
How will the Leave vote affect the non EU migrants who are resident in the UK?
Non EU migrants are likely to see no immediate change to the laws that govern their residence in the UK. Non EU migrants have always been subjected to the stringent UK Immigration rules and will continue to be governed by those rules. Any changes will be seen over the next few years and at the moment it is mere conjecture and guessing as to what effect the Brexit Vote will have on Non EU migrants.
Non EU Migrants will continue to be governed by the Immigration Rules and there will be no immediate changes there. The Immigration Act 2016 has already brought in changes for Human Rights appeals which is affecting non EU Migrants as appeal rights have been significantly reduced.
The immediate impact is the decrease in value of the pound and this will affect the remittances that thousands of non EU migrants send to their countries of origin.
RBM Solicitors are well placed to advise EU and Non EU migrants who may be affected by Brexit especially those applying for Permanent Residence and British Citizenship.